Verification: e228443fa5b40328

How to Identify Underperformance in the Workforce?


People are the most valuable resource of an organization. However, sometimes the quality of their performance may drop. Managers and leaders of organizations must be able to identify and rectify the situation.

Employees can underperform, especially as many people are working remotely. If you don’t manage the underperformance quickly, it could crash your company like a house of cards.

What is underperformance?

Employees are underperforming when they don’t meet the work expectations of their employers. You can see the examples below:

  • Not completing the jobs correctly or at all.
  • Not following the rules and regulations.
  • Showing behavior that negatively impacts their colleagues.

Cause of Underperformance?

The main reason underperformance has become a severe issue is the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, people started to work remotely. As a result, people are feeling more burned out and anxious. However, employees do not underperform just because they are lazy or insubordinate.

Before blaming that employees are underperforming, first, you must ensure that they know what you expect from them. You should also clearly distinguish between an employee’s poor performance and misconduct.

Issues that may indicate that the employees are underperforming :

  • Increased number of complaints from either customers or other colleagues
    If you find that you consistently get complaints from an employee, then they are not performing well. For example, their underperformance is causing them to be irritated.
  • Employees are not meeting targets or objectives
    When your employees consistently don’t meet targets or objectives, your staff has severe underperformance. This lack of performance is because they either are too stressed out or have other personal issues. Either way, the company must rectify the issue soon.
  • Employees not delivering good quality of work
    This lack in quality is the most direct effect of underperformance. If the employee has stopped delivering good quality work, there is something wrong. The management should immediately talk to the employee and understand their problems.
  • Not meeting deadlines
    If an employee does not deliver work on time, it might mean underperformance. It may not be the case. However, if they are consistently late finishing their jobs, their performance is not up to the mark.
  • Lack of Teamwork
    Being a team player is essential in a company. If an employee does not get along with others, it could hamper the company’s goals. In addition, they could indulge in gossip and combative behavior, which might also damage other employees’ morale.
  • Excessive dependence on colleagues
    If an employee always needs the help of another colleague or a superior, there is a lack of performance. In this case, the employee takes the valuable time of their team members.
  • Disregard company rules
    Other disciplinary issues such as not coming to work and stealing from the office will lead to underperformance. These issues will severely decrease productivity.
  • Lack of motivation
    A lack of motivation and enthusiasm among the workforce will result in underperformance. Without that, the staff won’t be able to do work as efficiently as possible.

Can you solve the underperformance?

Even though the problems are severe, it is solvable. After identifying the issues, you need to identify the root cause. For example, it could simply be that employees did not understand the expectations. However, the underperformance may be due to a high workload. Or that managers did not delegate the work to the appropriate person.

After identifying the root cause, you need to create an action plan. First, you have to inform the employees about their underperformance. Then, additionally, you must tell them how to improve. After that, the managers must monitor the employees’ performance. And they must keep the employees updated about their progress.

What is the proper method to inform employees about their performance issues?

You can read below the methods to successfully deal with underperforming employees.

  • It would help if you used specific examples while discussing the issues. However, it should not include the opinions of the other employees or managers. Instead, you must tell them particular scenarios, expected results, and their performance.
  • Leaders should make it clear to employees that they have data. And that they are not randomly pointing fingers. For example, they can show the details of the projects where they have missed an objective or a target.
  • It would be best if you listened to the problems of the employees. There could be a genuine reason for their underperformance. This session may reveal if it was a one-time personal issue or because of stress.
  • After listening to the explanation given by the employee, work with them to find a solution. Here you would make sure that employees know very well about your expectations. And then ask how they are going to manage the problem in the future. Also, give suggestions for overcoming the issues.
  • Finally, you and the employee must agree on when this problem will be resolved. And when you meet again to discuss if the issues got resolved.


Underperformance is a severe issue for organizations. If not managed properly, it could result in the company’s demise. To solve the underperformance issue, you must identify the issues. Several situations might be due to underperformance. You could start getting a lot of complaints about an employee. They may not meet the work objective or the deadline. Further, they may show reluctance to work in a team and try to hinder the progress through gossip or violence. Excessive dependence on others, lack of motivation, or a general disregard for rules may all be due to underperformance.

However, you could overcome it. First, you must find the root cause of the underperformance. Then it would help if you informed the employee about it using examples and data. Finally, it would be best if you worked with them to solve the issue. It could be that they don’t have the necessary skills to cope with work. In such a case, training your employees would be helpful.

For providing industry-standard training to your employees, you could use a Learning Management System provider such as Gyrus. It offers innovative and high-quality training solutions globally. Moreover, they work with customers with the utmost respect and courtesy, guiding them through the entire training.


Related Posts